That the current Iranian regime poses a problem for the free world is a fact of life. It even poses a problem for Russia, its de facto ally in the Syrian conflict. But the Iranian dilemma comes into even sharper focus following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the escalation of long-standing tensions between Iran and Israel into open military skirmishes.
Turkey & Iran
An emergency, the Oxford English dictionary informs us, is “a sudden state of danger requiring immediate action”. Turkish citizens have been living in a state of emergency for a year and a half, and on 8 January 2018 deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, announced that the government intended to extend it. This represents the sixth such extension, and Turks might be excused for starting to forget what “normal” life feels like.
Iran’s “theocratic regime”, which has maintained power domestically via brutal oppression for over four decades, continues its expansionist policies across the Middle East, paying no heed to the bloody results of its subversive policies.
ISTANBUL — With President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans for greater powers firmly on track, Turkey’s government has set about shaping the country’s future outside the halls of parliament. Last month, as parliamentarians brawled over — and finally voted for — constitutional changes designed to establish Erdoğan’s long-awaited presidential system, the ministry of education published a draft curriculum for the new school year.
The month-long Qatar crisis, precipitated by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, with their long list of sovereignty-violating demands tantamount to sheer bullying, is in fact a crisis of opportunity for Iran that will enhance Iran’s regional influence as this crisis drags on. This is, first and foremost, an inter-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) crisis that spells long-term doom for GCC unity, which has been for decades a stable feature of GCC-Iran relations.
The 20th of May 2017 was a red letter day for Middle East politics. Not only was Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, re-elected by a substantial majority to a second term of office, but it was the day that US President Trump, on the opening leg of his first foreign tour, landed in Saudi Arabia to a right royal reception and, within hours, was signing a multi-billion dollar deal with his hosts.
An Iranian warning that it may attack militant bases in the troubled province of Balochistan threatens to bring Pakistan’s house of cards crashing down.
The 1979 revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, marked the end of the Pahlavi dynasty under the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, and resulted in the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran led by then Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1979-1989). The Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic Republic with a Shiite Islamic political system based on “velayat-e faqih” [lit. ‘guardianship of the jurist’ or ‘rule by the jurisprudent’]. The supreme leader, otherwise known as Rahbar, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (1989-present) has ultimate control over key power structures and institutions from the legislative and executive branches of government to…
The news from Turkey following the referendum on 16 April is worrying. The coup attempt on 20 July 2016, in which rogue troops commandeered fighter jets and tanks to bomb parliament, led the Turkish cabinet to declare a six-month state of emergency. On 19 January, as the six months drew to a close, the state of emergency was extended for a further three months. Now, following the referendum, the Turkish cabinet has once again added three months to the extraordinary powers permitted the president and his government under the terms of the emergency legislation.
Since mid-July 2016 Turks have been living in a state of emergency, subject to the sweeping powers permitted the president and his ministers in this situation. Triggered by the coup attempt on 20 July, in which 240 soldiers, police and civilians were killed trying to stop rogue troops who had commandeered fighter jets and tanks to bomb parliament, the state of emergency was extended on 19 January 2017 for a further three months.